Silicon Valley Employment Law Blog

Court rules in favor of workers in pension employment dispute

Those who work for the public sector often do so based on the benefits that typically come with the position. Unfortunately, due to cost-saving efforts, many cities and towns have looked for ways to ensure that pensions and other retirement accounts can be funded through measures that reduce benefits. There have been many California workers over the years who have been caught up in an employment dispute related to reductions in these types of benefits.

Recently, a circuit court judge ruled that changes that one city made to its pension laws were unconstitutional. This decision was based on both the state's constitution regarding pensions benefits as well as a previous state Supreme Court decision that denied any changes in state laws that would reduce such benefits. This decision was issued regarding a lawsuit that was filed over a 2014 law that revised certain provisions for retirement benefits for park employees.

Former Lowe's employee files wrongful termination claim

Understandably, losing a job can have significant financial implications. When a job is lost as a result of discrimination, the experience can also be emotionally and psychologically traumatic. Discrimination in any form is wrong, but even in today's world, it still exists. In California and other states, laws are in place to protect workers from harassment and discrimination in the workplace. When an employee loses his or her job to discriminatory acts, a wrongful termination claim may be filed.

A woman in another state who alleges her firing was an act of discrimination has filed a lawsuit. The woman was a former employee of Lowe's and had worked there for almost a decade. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff was diagnosed with lung cancer and used her FMLA leave. Allegedly, when she was ready to return to work, she was terminated instead of being placed in a new position.

Judge allows Walmart employment discrimination suit to proceed

One of the most recognized names in retail is the mega-giant Walmart. In one state alone, it employs an estimated 50,000 employees, and, as such, it was recently described as being "at home" in that state, which then opens the door for an employment discrimination case to proceed in federal court. The outcome of this case could have an impact on workers in California and elsewhere.

A U.S. District judge recently denied the retailer's motion to dismiss a case that has been brought by two women who have alleged that the company discriminated against them due to their pregnancies. The retailer filed for dismissal on the basis that the case was not filed in the appropriate district. A judge declined that motion and stated that the size of the company in that state met the qualifications for the case to proceed.

Honored firefighter files wrongful termination suit against city

Those who provide emergency services often do so under intense situations and place their own lives in danger. In spite of these sacrifices, these first responders are often city employees and are required to follow the regulations that govern how these workers operate. There may be conflict at times, and any California worker who believes that he or she may be a victim of a wrongful termination is entitled to seek justice.

Recently, one firefighter, recognized for outstanding performance of his duties during the attack at the Pulse nightclub in 2017, was fired for supposedly breaching patient confidentiality. The man claims that his firing was in retaliation against his efforts to file for workers' compensation benefits for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The first responder has also been openly critical of the department's response during the massacre.

24 Hour Fitness battling several employment related lawsuits

Americans are often fanatical about getting healthy and working out. As a result, there are a plethora of options for obtaining a gym membership and staying fit. Unfortunately, the fancy gym equipment often conceals the misery of the employees who are often required to work under less than optimal conditions. One of the most popular gyms in California, 24 Hour Fitness, is also the most frequent defendant in employment related disputes.

Currently, the company, which is headquartered in California, could be the subject of a U.S. Supreme Court case over the issue of its requirement that employees are forced to agree to arbitration and surrender their rights to settle employment disputes in court. The National Labor Relations Board filed the suit against the company over its controversial policy that prevents employees from joining a class action suit against the company whenever its policies seem to violate labor laws. The company recently agreed to settle with employees who claimed that it violated the wage and hour laws by requiring workers to put in 12-hour shifts with scant time for lunch breaks.

Proposed legislation stirs employment dispute over pensions

One of the most popular incentives for those who seek positions in the public sector is the possibility of securing a reliable pension plan. Unfortunately, many states and companies are having difficulty meeting the demands that these retirement benefits place on stressed budgets. There have been many employment disputes concerning cuts to retirement plans involving California workers over recent years.

Recently, one state's lawmakers proposed a bill that would ease some of the strain that its pension system is currently experiencing. However, due to proposed reductions in the cost of living adjustments and a few other changes, teachers and other public workers are protesting the potential cuts in their benefits. The system is projected to only be funded at an estimated 55 percent, and the cuts would be in place until it reaches a 90 percent funding level.

Sexual harassment underreported according to EEOC claim reports

Sexual harassment has been classified as illegal under Title VII since 1986. Sadly, the vast majority of workers who experience this type of disturbing behavior on the job do not report it for fear of retaliation. California employees who believe they have been a victim of this type of discrimination are entitled to file an EEOC claim against the individuals deemed responsible.

An estimated 90 percent of workers who have experienced harassment on the job do not take steps to report it, purportedly out of fear of repercussions from either superiors or co-workers. Even though companies have  conducted training on this type of inappropriate behavior, the emphasis has been more on avoiding liability than on actually eliminating problem behavior. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released a report in 2016 that addressed the issue along with the fact that workers' concerns about retaliation appear to be valid.

Lawsuit over employee rights may impact California

A civil suit currently being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court could potentially have a significant impact for public employees in California and several other states. The suit is over employee rights and whether public workers such as teachers should be required to pay union dues or is this a violation of First Amendment rights. A similar suit filed a few years ago ended in a deadlock after the death of Justice Scalia.

The suit was filed by a public worker against American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31. In this particular state -- as in California and several other states -- public-sector employees are required to support the union regardless of their personal views. These monies are then used by the unions to help persuade and inform the opinions of lawmakers. Because the forced contributions result in the union having substantial cash reserves, it is capable of effectively blocking any proposed changes to policies or salaries.

CSX Railroad sued for allegations of wrongful termination

Kids used to dream about working for the railroad. For many, a job in this field may have provided the hope of long-term employment and a secure retirement. Unfortunately, as California residents are aware, the workforce changes frequently and many companies frequently do not appear to want to retain long-term workers. Recently, 46 ex-employees workers filed a wrongful termination suit against CSX Railroad.

According to the complaint filed in a federal district court, CSX terminated the workers after they sought to use their medical insurance for undisclosed illnesses. In addition to their attempts to utilize their benefits, they were denied the option of medical leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act that allows for time off due to illness, injury or family circumstances. The employees also allege that their private medical records were accessed by the company unlawfully.

Officer gets settlement; retirement for employment discrimination

An African-American police officer who has been employed by the same department for approximately 29 years is now being forced into retirement as part of a settlement agreement. The man filed an employment discrimination lawsuit concerning racial slurs against the internal affairs division of the city's police force. Though this dispute did not occur in California, this type of discrimination is not limited to any one geographical area.

The officer at the center of this particular case filed a complaint over racially charged graffiti that had been inscribed in the department's rest room. In addition, he stated that a fellow officer made racially offensive remarks concerning another African-American officer. The man was recently offered a settlement for his case with the condition that he retire.

  • Save To Favorites
  • Print This Page
  • Email Us
  • Site Map